The Portland Trail Blazers have been scrambling all throughout July trying to decide how to proceed following Damian Lillard’s trade request. But a decision the team made shortly before could haunt the Blazers for a while.
Portland signing Jerami Grant to a five-year, $160 million contract was deemed one of the five biggest free agency mistakes by Bleacher Report contributor Zach Buckley.
He simply isn’t worth this kind of coin—his 14.0 career player efficiency rating is actually a tick below league-average—and the only (relatively) reasonable rationale for the overpay was to keep Lillard happy. That obviously didn’t happen, putting Portland in a wholly troublesome spot with Grant. At this pay rate, he might be impossible to trade for the next few seasons without incentivizing a team to take on his contract.
The Blazers would probably feel better about Grant’s deal if Lillard was still on board, but as Portland gears towards rebuilding for the next few seasons, this deal could be looked at as unfavorable.
This contract isn’t a knock on Grant as a player. He averaged 20.5 points per game in his first year with the Blazers, but given the team’s direction, it simply doesn’t make sense.
It’s possible that Dame is one to blame for this deal. The Blazers likely re-signed Grant assuming that’s what it would take to keep Lillard in Portland. If Dame had requested a trade before this moment, the Blazers may not have made as strong of a commitment to Grant.